Some years ago Makk Mikkael was one of the many teens obsessing over Taylor Swift. The blend of pop and country spoke volumes to her. Swift was not only inspired to start singing, but she soon picked up a guitar and started posting covers on YouTube. While country was where she spent her early teens, she moved onward. She notes of her style now, “I’m happy I’ve found my sound. I’m inspired by the Toronto R&B scene and I feel like my music represents where I’m currently at right now.” Now is where we are and we’re talking about her latest single “How It Feels,” her time in Los Angeles, and next steps.
Kendra: Were you grounded in country music when you headed out to LA or did you find your new voice once you got settled?
Makk Mikkael: The country phase really only lasted from age 13-16. My style switched up pretty fast but I had a feeling it was changing. When I would perform for talent shows and school concerts it didn’t feel like it was really me or my sound/style. The country market seems super oversaturated and it’s hard to stand out and be original. When I went to LA I was diving into the alternative pop scene. I was into Kiiara’s style and the “new” pop sound that was happening.
Kendra: Los Angeles can either do a body good or ruin a life. How do you feel the City of Angels helped you leave a better musician?
Makk Mikkael: I think it was a super great, eye-opening experience. I completely agree with you about LA either benefiting you or ruining you. I was lucky to be surrounded by grounded individuals and I was able to just do my thing because of that. I don’t get into trouble even if I go out because I know the “party” scene can be career ending so I tend to stay away from it all and focus on the music.
Kendra: Your latest single, “How It Feels,” was recorded out in LA. A lot of emotion is wrapped up in this song but it has such a cool sound! Did you go into the recording that you’d wind up with that balance?
Makk Mikkael: “How It Feels” was written when I was in LA and got recorded in Toronto. It actually got shelved for a bit because I got some feedback on it that made me set it aside and work on some other tracks in the meantime. When I went to Toronto I picked it back up because I felt like it really suited me and would be a good follow up to “Jungle.” We had three different versions for “How It Feels” but landed on what it is today which is the R&B pop vibe.
Kendra: Will “How It Feels” be a part of a record, or are you going to release more singles?
Makk Mikkael: As of right now there is one more single on the horizon that will be coming out soon. I’m not sure at the moment if “How It Feels” will be on the album. I’m really getting into a sound right now and kind of want everything to be synchronized all together, so depending on how everything sounds “How It Feels” may or may not fit in with that.
Kendra: Can we see you playing in the coming months?
Makk Mikkael: I will be doing shows in the future. I’ve been in the studio and will be for a couple more months to lock this album in, so after that, I will start performing. Looking forward to it.
Kendra: Going back to where you started. If you had to make a mixtape featuring songs that were inspiring your 14-year-old self?
Makk Mikkael: Haha yes, this is my dream right here.
Hilary Duff – “So Yesterday”
Hannah Montana – “Rockstar”
Selena Gomez & The Scene – “Hit The Lights”
Jesse McCartney – “Just So You Know”
Aly & AJ – “Chemicals React”
JoJo – “Too Little, Too Late”
The Lizzie McGuire Soundtrack – “What Dreams Are Made Of”
Aly & AJ – “No One”
Demi Lovato – “Stop The World”
Hilary Duff – “Fly“